Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim has announced at Masjid Al-Khair at Teck Whye Crescent on Friday (17 February) that Singapore’s official Haj quota has been increased from 680 to 800 places.
Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) stated that the Saudi authorities had imposed a reduction in quota for domestic and foreign pilgrims due to the major development and upgrading projects taking place in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, in particular the expansion of the Mataf (circumambulation) area since 2012.
However, it stated that Singapore was not affected by the quota reduction.
MUIS also said that it had been asking for additional quota since 2012.
Dr Yaacob thank Saudi for the increase, adding that the Saudi authorities would also consider Singapore’s requests for additional Haj visas for this year.
Currently, the quota that has been given to muslims in the country is based on a 1987 formula by the Organisation of Islamic Conference, which set at 0.1 per cent of the Muslim population here.
The Muslim community in SIngapore has grown by about 20 percent since that time to around 800,000 people. However, the quota given for the muslims to do the Haj, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, has never been changed.
MUIS stated that it will contact eligible Haj registrants regarding the additional vacancies available.
in 2017, the Hari Raya Haji will be celebrated on 1 September and pilgrims is scheduled to leave for the Haj about a month before the due date to perform several rituals regarding the Haj.
Dr Yaacob wrote on his Facebook page, “I am very grateful to the Saudi Haj authorities for this excellent news. I would also like to thank Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), MFA, the Muslim community and others for their kind support, hard work, patience and doa, in assisting Singaporean pilgrims to perform the fifth pillar of Islam and fulfil our religious obligations.”
“We will work closely with the Saudi Haj authorities to ensure a smooth Haj for all pilgrims. Let’s continue to pray that our requests for additional Haj visas will be considered favourably too,” he added.